Top 10 lopsided Grand Slam finals
Tennis has always seen some fantastic matches played over the years and when a match is a Grand Slam final, excitement and drama knows no bounds. But some matches defy this logic and turn out to be a one way traffic with minimum fuss. We will see Top 10 Grand Slam finals that surprised everyone by their lopsided nature. This list takes into account the matches played in the Open era. While preparing this list I have also taken into account the strength of opponent at the time of the match, the importance of the match and the impact it had on both the players. Here goes the list.
10. Australian Open 2003 (Andre Agassi defeats Rainer Schuttler)
The 32 year old Agassi was enjoying a renaissance in his career. Agassi defeated Schuttler 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in the Aussie open 2003 final. In doing so he became the oldest Grand Slam winner in 31 years. Agassi entertained everyone with his fabulous return game and ground strokes. It was also the most lopsided score at the Australian Open final. By winning this title which also proved to be his final slam, Agassi equalled the record of most Australian Open titles.
This was Hewitt’s first Grand Slam Final. Being only 20 years old, he was expected to be an easy opponent for 13 Grand Slam holder Sampras, but nothing sort of that happened. Sampras was defeated 6-7, 1-6, 1-6. Sampras, who was known for his deadly running forehand, had only 5 ground stroke winners while piling up 38 unforced errors. It also marked the first year since 1992 that Sampras had failed to win a Slam.
8. US Open 1991 (Stefan Edberg defeats Jim Courier)
“I remember walking off of the court knowing there was no way I could have beaten him on that day. He played a nearly flawless match in every face” . These were the words of Jim Courier after he was defeated in the US Open finals. Edberg, often considered as the benchmark for sportsmanship, produced one of his best performances that day to defeat Courier by 6-2,6-4,6-0 after 8 years of failure at Flushing Meadows. Edberg played a perfect textbook serve and volley game dropping only 15 points on serve in the match. As a result of winning the US Open for the first time, he regained the No.1 ranking as well.
7. US Open 2004 (Roger Federer defeats Lleyton Hewitt)
Federer reached the US Open finals as was expected, but he was tested by Agassi in the epic 5 setter in the quarter finals. Hewitt hadn’t lost a set coming into the finals. The head to head stood 8-7 in Hewitt’s favour coming into the final. But Federer showed the world that his era has arrived. He often created shots that seemed like a work of art and his movement was technically the best. He thrashed Hewitt giving him a rare double bagel in a scoreline of 6-0, 7-6, 6-0. Federer became the first player since Wilander in 1988 to win three majors in a year.
6. Wimbledon 1974 (Jimmy Connors defeats Ken Rosewall)
Rosewall is one of the most stylish and elegant player in the history of tennis but a small blemish on his resume is the absence of a Wimbledon trophy. His run to the Wimbledon championship match at the age of 39 was astonishing. After beating Stan Smith in a long five set semi final Rosewall was physically and mentally exhausted. A young brat named Jimmy Connors humiliated the old classical guard of tennis at the hallowed lawns .Rosewall was defeated 6-1, 6-1, 6-4. It was the last time Rosewall reached the Wimbledon finals.
5. Wimbledon 1978 (Bjorn Borg defeats Jimmy Connors)
The match between Borg and Connors had been thought of as a battle between two tennis greats but Connors, the left handed hitter was annihilated by impressive hitting of Borg as he won his third straight title at the Wimbledon, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 . Borg’s victory this time was far easier than the previous year when he had to come through in five sets. Borg’s high kicking top spin ground strokes and solid double handed backhand constantly made Connors look clueless during the whole match.
4. French Open 1978 (Bjorn Borg defeats Guillermo Vilas)
Borg in 1978 at French Open was at a level that can be set as a benchmark for excellence in Tennis. He lost only 32 games in the tournament (a record). His best performance came in the final when he defeated another clay court great Guillermo Vilas who dominated the tournament a year earlier in the absence of Borg. Borg’s racket produced deadly topspin which resulted in numerous backhand errors from Vilas’s racket. The score was 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in Borg’s favour which merely demonstrated just how far ahead of the field the Swede he was as he got his 3rd Roland Garros title.
3. US Open 1974 (Jimmy Connors defeats Ken Rosewall)
After meeting in the Wimbledon, the pair met once again at the US Open . Rosewall surprised everyone again by reaching US Open finals at the age of 39. But this match ended even in a more one sided nature in favour of Connors. Rosewall won a mere 19 points on serve in the entire match. In the end Rosewall was defeated 1-6, 0-6, 1-6. For the second time in two months Connors had humiliated in a Grand Slam final the man who had played his first U.S. Open 22 years earlier, on the day Connors was born.
2. Wimbledon 1984 (John McEnroe defeats Jimmy Connors)
This was one match that was expected to be close as both were playing great tennis. The two met at the same stage before 2 years which ensued a tight match in which Connors won. But the match of 1984 was nowhere close to being tight. McEnroe played like a skilled warrior, serving fire shells on that sunny afternoon and closed out the match 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. McEnroe made only 3 unforced errors in the whole match. McEnroe finished the year with a 82-3 win-loss record.
1. French Open 2008 (Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer)
Few people, including Borg and Wilander, were of the idea that after learning from the experiences of past 3 years, Federer would finally cross the hurdle and win the French Open in 2008 to complete his set of Grand Slams. Federer had been defeated by his nemesis for the past 3 years at Roland Garros, once in the semifinals and twice in the finals. But this time Federer was not defeated, he was hammered by Nadal. The Spaniard was too stable controlling the rallies with wicked spin and uncanny athleticism. Nadal’s impenetrable defense and relentless attack on backhand was too much for the Swiss to handle as he crumbled 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. Nadal was at his suffocating best in the heavy conditions of Paris, often looking a different world player.
Matches that missed the list
11. French Open 2003 (Juan Carlos Ferrero defeats Martin Verkerk)
Martin Verkerk had a surprise run at French Open 2003 but his run was ended in the final at the hands of Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain. Ferrero reached the finals of French Open a year earlier but was defeated by Albert Costa. This time however he was not to be consumed with nerves. Verkerk was defeated 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. It was the heaviest defeat at French Open finals in 25 years.
12. Wimbledon 2001 (Lleyton Hewitt defeats David Nalbandian)
Many speculated that Hewitt was a one-slam wonder after his win at US Open a year earlier. Nobody expected a baseliner to emerge victorious at the green lawns but it happened. Hewitt won another slam, at Wimbledon defeating unseeded Nalbandian 6-1, 6-3, 6-2. It was the most one sided men’s final in 18 years. This Grand Slam is also the last Grand Slam won by Hewitt till date.
13. French Open 1977 (Guillermo Vilas defeats Brian Gottfried)
1977 was the year when Vilas was playing his best tennis. He won 16 titles overall including Roland Garros and US Open. Vilas thrashed Brian Gottfried 6-0, 6-3, 6-0 to complete the shortest finals in Roland Garros history. It also saw Vilas become the first South American to win at Rolland Garros.Modified 19 Dec 2019, 19:55 IST